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In this collection of her provocative essays on Third World art and culture, award-winning filmmaker and theorist Trinh Minh-ha offers new challenges to Western regimes of knowledge.
Bringing to her subjects an acute sense of the many meanings of the marginal, Trinh examines Asian and African texts, the theories of Barthes, questions of spectatorship, the enigmas of art, and the perils of anthropology. In one essay, taking off from ideas raised earlier by Zora Neale Hurston, Trinh considers with astonishment the search by Western "experts" for the hidden values of a person or culture, a process of legitimized voyeurism that, she argues, ultimately equates psychological conflicts with depth, while inner experience is reduced to mere personal feeling.
When the Moon Waxes Red is an extended argument against reductive analyses, even those that appear politically adroit. Feminist struggle is heterogeneous. The multiply-hyphenated peoples of color are not simply placed in a duality between two cultural heritages; throughout, Trinh describes the predicament of having to live "a difference that has no name and too many names already." She argues for multicultural revision of knowledge so that a new politics can transform reality rather than merely ideologize it. By rewriting the always emerging, already distorted place of struggle, such work seeks to "beat the master at his own game."